Third time lucky for Claire? Independent begins campaign to be East Devon MP – with Labour and Lib Dem candidates also confirmed

County councillor Claire Wright says she will be standing to become East Devon MP in December’s general election – with Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates also confirmed. 

The Conservatives, who have held the seat for 150 years, are yet to announce who will stand for them after incumbent Sir Hugo Swire announced last month that he will stand down.

UKIP and the Green Party have not revealed their parliamentary hopefuls to date.

Independent Otter Valley ward representative Ms Wright is in the running alongside Daniel Wilson for Labour and district councillor for Broadclyst Eleanor Rylance, standing for the Lib Dems.

Michael Amor had been announced as a candidate to represent the Brexit Party, but it is understood that they will no longer be contesting the seat.

Subject to approval by the House of Lords, there will be a general election on the December 12 – the first during the moth since 1923.

Ms Wright has twice stood for election to parliament – coming second to Tory Sir Hugo both occasions in 2017 and 2015.

Posting on her blog, Ms Wright said that she was excited that the countdown to what is being dubbed the most ‘unpredictable and epic’ general election in living memory has started.

She added: “The last December election was almost 100 years ago, and campaigning is going to tough, with dark nights, cold and possibly pretty awful weather.

“But despite the challenges of leafleting and door knocking, last night the air of excitement was palpable and we sensed the enormity and potential of what we’re about to enter.

“I hope that this time the East Devon constituency could finally break its 150 year Conservative rule and see an Independent MP elected, whose manifesto is based on local people’s views and who intends to truly represent the people of East Devon, with no party whip to get in the way of that representation.

“This is my third general election. I have effectively been campaigning to be East Devon’s MP for six years, including over a year of preparation for this one. And who would have thought that in this election, in a supposedly safe Conservative seat, an election would have been called with no Conservative candidate.”

“This time feels different. It has a different energy about it. I’ve been a councillor for a decade. And I’m a seasoned campaigner, having fought five elections (this is the sixth) since 2011 and once again, I have a strong, committed and extraordinarily motivated and hardworking team around me. I am also very fortunate to have a much wider team of hundreds of leafleters and door-knockers.

“I hope that the election in East Devon will reflect the mood of the nation in that my opponents will be respectful and polite when challenging me and I in turn, also pledge to operate in the same way.”

As of yet, no Conservative candidate for the seat has been announced.

The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment about who its candidate will be and when they will be selected.

Announcing his decision to stand down in September, Sir Swire, who has been the MP for East Devon since 2001, said: “My greatest privilege has been to serve my constituents, regardless of their political allegiance, I am truly grateful for consistently returning me at elections and will continue to serve them to the best of my ability until an election is called.”

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